Spring Safety

With Easter coming up this weekend, your house is probably full of flowers, easter baskets and chocolate! While these are fun and delicious for humans, they can be potentially dangerous for your pets.

We asked one of our emergency veterinarians, Dr. Amy Goldstein, to give us some tips on how to keep your pet safe during the holiday and for the rest of the Spring season.

Lilies are toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure.  Even small amounts of lilies can be lethal.  Lily of the valley can affect the heart as well.

Easter Grass
Just like string, dental floss, and tinsel, Easter Grass can cause vomiting and an intestinal obstruction. This is a surgical emergency. 

Chocolate contains theobromine, a xanthine compound which is in the same family as caffeine and theophylline- and is toxic to dogs and cats. At low doses chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhea.  At higher doses it can cause a high heart rate, an irregular heart rhythm and seizures.

Fertilizers and Pesticides
N-P-K fertilizers (containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium salts) can cause mild gastro-intestinal upset, and also skin irritation on the paws. Fertilizers containing greater than 1% iron can cause iron toxicity if ingested by a dog.

Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitos
Fleas can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions and they can transmit tapeworms.  Ticks can transmit many diseases such as Lyme disease.  Mosquitos can transmit heartworm to cats and dogs, which can be fatal.  All dogs and cats should receive topical monthly flea and tick prevention.  It is very important to read product labels very carefully on all flea and tick medications as the misuse of such medications, particularly over the counter varieties, can lead to acute toxicity in pets. It is important never to use a dog product on your cat, or vice versa. The ingredient “permethrin” found in some dog medications, while perfectly safe for dogs can be lethal to cats even in very small doses.

Insect Bites
Dogs can also have severe allergic reactions to insect bites this time of year.  Common symptoms are a swollen face and hives.  If left untreated, the inflammatory response can cause severe illness and respiratory distress.

Fishing Hooks and Lines
It is important to keep all fishing hooks away from your pet.  They can get stuck in your pet’s mouth or paws.  Fishing lines can cause an obstruction in your pet’s intestines.

Remember to always keep your dog on a leash when they are outside.  Make sure all leashes and collars fit appropriately for your animal, and are not too worn from usage. Keeping your dog on a leash can prevent them from being hit by a car or getting bit by another dog.  Bite wounds are common emergencies; make sure to always keep your pets rabies vaccinations up to date.  

If you or someone you know believes that their animal is in need of immediate medical attention, please call VESCONE at 781.684.8387. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.